Unlucky in Love in Shanghai?

20 Sep

Can’t find that special someone?

Then head to People’s Square.

Actually, send your parentals as there’s a specific area in People’s Square that is designated for finding a suitor for your son or daughter that is unlucky in love. Hundreds of printed and laminated profiles are strung up between the trees and everyday parents trawl the market. The profiles depict what I can only guess to be gender, birth year, height, monthly income and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t decipher. Maybe hobbies or a personal statement or something.

I especially like that height is high on the list.

It was a Sunday when we walked through there and it was very busy. Even some of the benches and bins had profiles stuck to them. There were notepads out and pens poised, a lot of shuffling and frowning and scrutinizing.

One of Kat’s Chinese colleagues at work has given his parents permission to look for a girlfriend for him and says it is very common. (Though he would have to say that, wouldn’t he?) This young man in particular has gotten tired of trying to find a girlfriend and future wife in the usual pulling pits (Karaoke bars? The mall? Arcades?) and he has happily handed over the reins to his folks. They will now peruse the market and once they’ve found someone they think is suitable a date is set up. If the kids hit it off, that’s great, hopefully they’ll continue dating and eventually marry, have one child and live happily ever after. If they don’t hit it off, it’s back to the laminated sheets in People’s Square for the parents to find somebody else.

There must be some good ones over in that corner.

So there’s no real imminent pressure to find the One and get married straight away, Kat’s colleague can still date around and it’s not like an arranged marriage where he might not have a say. It’s basically like signing up to match.com without paying the £20 a month membership. And your parents do all the preliminary cutting room sorting out and then take care of all the logistics of setting up the date. Seems like a pretty sweet deal.

However, Kat’s colleague’s may say it’s normal but I wonder if there isn’t in fact some sort of negative connotation associated with dating this way, just like internet dating hasn’t entirely relived itself of its negative connotation. I also wonder how people rate the profiles. Is the salary important? How important is height really? And is it the case of the taller the better or is it that you want to find someone that similar height? Maybe I should open up a special “Not-looking-to-date-but-looking-for-a-friend” side area and hang up my laminated profile:

28yr old, 1,73m, unemployed Laowai (foreigner) looking for male though preferably female Chinese friend, height and employment status irrelevant, to learn about Chinese customs and popular culture.

My unemployment status will probably not rate well but I’m hoping tall is good and that my above -average height (well, for China anyway) will score me some plus points!


5 Responses to “Unlucky in Love in Shanghai?”

  1. Dad September 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    I always thought that we had been caring parents, but now I realize that there is a lot more we could have done!! At least we tried once to find a matching bicycle for our siblings, something Chinese people might also appreciate!!

    • miravakily September 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      I think I did alright without you two meddling in my love life! Und Papa, die Chinesen haben doch keine Geschwister! And what bicycles are you talking about?

      • Dad September 21, 2011 at 3:51 am #

        oh ja, “Siblings” ist hier nicht das richtige Wort, meinte natürlich “Kiddies” . Und bei den Fahrrädern handelte es sich um eure Mountainbikes.

  2. Ellen Schuett September 21, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    Hihi, warum nicht? Vielleicht findest du so ein paar schräge, interessante und nette Chinesen. Ich kenne ja selber ein Paar und sie sind interessanter und “tiefer” als ich dachte! Auf jeden Fall werden sie dich in irgendwelche kulinarischen Sonderheiten einweihen. Bisous!


  1. Part 2: Ruth and Kenny in Shanghai. « Ningbo Nights - April 17, 2012

    […] We went to the Bund and said hi to Mao, walked into Nanjing Road but because it wasn’t dark yet none of the thousand glaring neon signs were on making Nanjing Road a bit unimpressive, so we took the subway to People’s Square where we ended up in Shanghai’s matchmaking scene. […]

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